Your audience can be split into three different groups:
- The Crowd: These are first time readers and “lurkers” that read your posts but aren’t tied to your brand. They aren’t repeat visitors and aren’t compelled to share your content.
- The Community: These readers visit your blog regularly. They like your content and make a point to add your blog to their short list of content. The will share your blog post if it strikes a nerve. These readers sign-up for your free offers and frequently attend online events.
- The Core: These readers are super fans. They’ve connected at a emotional and spiritual level with your message and will share it at every opportunity. Many of these readers are clients or actively refer new prospects to your blog. They comment and periodically uses your content as a foundation for their efforts.
Which group do you target to spread your message?
The Crowd? No. It’s difficult to find who they are. You also don’t know what motivates them. Time and money spent here will be wasted doing the social equivalent of throwing darts at a dartboard.
The Core? Nope. You already have them. They love you and your message and are working overtime to share it. You need to take care of these fans and shower them with appreciation and exclusive attention but they are not your future evangelists.
How to Transition Community Members into the Core “Sharing” Crowd
Your community is looking for evidence that you can consistently solve their problem or achieve their goals. They have already put you on the short list but you need to engineer a “Wow. I didn’t think of that!” moment.
You do this by offering something new. This is hard to do. But that unique, gem, of knowledge or wisdom separates you from the echo chamber. It gives them something genuinely interesting to share.
It’s important to remember that the currency of the Social Economy is unique, informative, and entertaining information.
Your reader will use your “Wow” information to increase their social standing in another community.
The mom that discovers new Elf on a Shelf ideas gets social credibility by sharing it with her creatively challenged audience.
The consultant who finds a unique framework for explaining social sharing gets social, career, and monetary benefits from sharing it with their network.
Jay Baer says coined a brilliant term for this – Youtility.
The first step to getting your message shared is to understand that your information has to achieve the sharer’s goal. For your community they will want:
New information. Add to the knowledge base of your reader. Give them something useful to think about and share.
New perspectives. Different approaches, methodologies and processes. The B2B world thrives on formulating new models for interpreting and predicting the world. Humor also fits in this category. Humor, is just another more entertaining perspective of the world.
New tools: Better, faster, cheaper ways at doing tasks your community cares about.
Now is the time to brainstorm and refine your information, perspectives and tools. Without them you are just re-telling someone else’s story. Old or rehashed news doesn’t get shared. Granted, you can’t whip up a new perspective every week but you should be on the lookout for your next share-worthy insight.
One more important point –
Make Your Message Easy to Share
I like to say that I’m not lazy just out of time. I want to share content with a click. Your readers feel the same way. Extra time spent searching for your fancy, animated retweet button at the end of your post will cripple your message. Don’t get cute. Get used to ugly share icons marring your beautifully designed page, you need the traffic so use the icons.
Here are some quick tips based on the involvement/interest of the reader:
Low Commitment / Quick Shares: Social Shares
Make sure they are visible
Make sure they stay on the page after they share
Pick platforms you regularly interact with
Medium Commitment shares: Infographics and Video
Easy embed instructions that are visible and easy to use. It should be a simple matter of cutting and pasting an embed code into their blog post.
Offer a link to a contact form for readers who have trouble embedding your code.
High Commitment shares: Reviews, recommendations, interviews and guest posts
Make sure readers know you are open to interviews, guest posts
Tell readers to contact you if they write a review about your products. Tell them that you’ll be happy to promote their review if appropriate.
Be prompt and professional. Try your best to meet any deadlines and submit any helpful information.
Talk to me. Do you feel ready to spread your message this year?